Quitting Smoking by Simply Replacing One Habit With Another
Habits have received a lot of attention in the business world as a powerful tool for increasing productivity. Charles Duhigg wrote the New York Times Bestseller “The Power Of Habit” to help us understand and improve “life and business.” Smoking is a habit, as well as an addiction, but is generally only treated as a physical addiction to the drug nicotine, even though the addiction lasts just a few weeks. It is the behavioral aspect of smoking that can make it difficult for smokers to refrain from cigarettes months, and even years after quitting.
Breaking Bad Habits
Habits are engrained deep in the brain, in the basal ganglia. This very primitive part of the brain is responsible for a lot of our automatic behaviors, and is very powerful. Habits are formed to save brain power for decisions and thinking, are powered by cravings, and work in a loop: cue, habit, reward. Once a habit is formed it is difficult to break, but can be replaced with a new habit. Researchers refer to this strategy for breaking a bad habit as ‘habit reversal,’ and it is used to treat many types behavioral problems.
The habit loop for smokers starts with a cue, or trigger, something to tell us to reach for the pack of cigarettes and light one up. Smoking a cigarette is the habit, and you might think the reward is nicotine but that is not necessarily true. The act of smoking provides rewards like socialization, relaxation, physical simulations, a break from work, or relief from boredom. A smoker generally has trouble quitting unless a new habit is formed that provides the same reward as smoking. Each smoker has to figure out why he or she smokes, beyond the nicotine hit, and find a new habit that fulfills that same reward. So for example, a smoker craving a break a few minutes away from a desk at work, a new habit that provides a distraction from the daily activities will help reinforce staying smoke-free.
This is the principle behind Quit Tea. Drinking herbal tea can provide many of the same rewards as smoking, but is healthy and non-addictive. Boiling water, steeping the tea, and sipping provides a break from activities, a way to keep the hands and mouth busy, possible socialization, and stimulation. While at the same time the herbs in Quit Tea help promote relaxation, improve lung health, detoxification, to temporarily support willpower and get through each craving.
Substitution Strategy for Quitting Smoking is the key to long-term success. New habits can replace old habits, including smoking. So new healthy habits, such as drinking herbal tea, can help replace the old unhealthy habit of smoking. The Quit Company, LLC, or “Quit Co,” is creating herbal, natural, and educational products to help address the behavioral aspect of smoking cessation. Simply understanding how habits work, and becoming aware of cues and rewards, make the habit easier to control.